How to Navigate Online Mental Health Resources

Gaskill noted that when she submits information online, it does not appear to be retrieved by the correct service or web address. “I’m still on those lists. Magellan will tell patients I’m a provider, but I’ve never been accredited for them in this state, ever. She still receives calls from patients who tell her that they were given her name from a list provided by their carriers or benefits representative at work.

Alan Morse is a clinical psychologist and consultant, as well as a certified coach. He says the traditional assurance model of certifying certain providers to get paid is outdated and harmful. People aren’t getting the help they need and doctors are abandoning insurance plans to fend for themselves just to get paid.

“Mental health has not kept pace with other medical practices. People need to be more proactive and ask themselves what they really need. Work backwards. What would a successful outcome look like to me? Could I see other trained professionals like counselors or coaches to help my situation? »

He suggested national associations like the American Psychiatric Association and the National Register of Health Service Psychologists as a starting point, but said not to overlook community outreach.

“Pastoral councils, community mental health programs, synagogues, mosques, non-profit charities, etc. are more useful than people think. They can put you in touch with resources or colleagues.

Here are some other things to keep in mind if you encounter a cyber obstacle:

Do your homework

Think like a detective before calling anyone. Ask yourself what is important to you right now and what you think you need to feel or function better. Then find out who could help you. This may require evaluation by a psychologist or psychiatrist, but this may not be the case. An eating disorder specialist or addiction counselor can point you in the right direction if you have bulimia or addiction issues. So be specific when you take stock of anything that contributes to your current dilemma.

Insurance sites are not the gospel

Don’t believe everything you read. As noted earlier, insurers and large practice groups are not updating their information quickly enough to meet the demands of patients and mental health professionals. So the “Do not take new patients” message you receive may be out of date. You’ll have to make a few calls and find out for yourself. Many providers have an availability list, but their schedules show no openings through a screening process. I know a few who didn’t want the public calling and making appointments without providing information first. If in doubt, call the supplier and ask.

Check who will pay your bills

Other than finding someone, this may be the most important step unless you want to receive hundreds of dollar bills. If you go through your insurance, make sure your particular plan will pay for it. Just because it says Blue Cross on your card doesn’t mean Blue Cross is the one paying for the service. Third-party companies are often involved, and refund policies, including how much they pay, vary from state to state. Ask about your specific plan, not the general policy of your insurance company.

Be honest about your immediate needs

If you are in crisis, tell someone. If you’ve stopped taking your meds or can’t stop crying, now is not the time to do extensive research. Call your GP, who can call or recommend a colleague on your behalf or refer you to an agency. Don’t wait until you “feel better” or procrastinate. Even if you don’t intend to hurt yourself or others, ask for help. If your only option is the emergency department, so be it. At the very least, hospitals can take care of your medications and refer you to counseling services until you find your way.

Understand that private health care is a business

Most of us already know this, but it bears repeating. Smaller mental health practices are bought and sold left and right. Many do not take out insurance at all. Reimbursement rates for mental health providers are much lower than for other types of providers. However, they may offer options such as installment payments (pay what you can afford) or offer you a reduced rate. It all depends on the practice. Private companies make their own rules, so talk to a manager.

Above all, know that it will probably be a process of elimination. It takes real work to find good, affordable and professional mental health assistance. There is no centralized or catch-all database. And the onus will be on the patient or guardian to determine what to do as an individual or family.

But we are all worth the fight. Please continue.

If you or someone you know is in distress or in need of mental health support, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in English and Spanish.

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